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It’s not only still the International Year of Chemistry, but it’s also National Chemistry Week! Yippee! Chemists are celebrating chemistry with students of all ages this week in lots of ways, but especially with hands-on demonstrations. The rest of the year, however, many public school teachers struggle to teach their students chemistry because they lack basic resources due to poor funding.
Can you imagine a chemistry class without chemicals or beakers or a periodic table poster?
CENtral Science is participating in the fantastic DonorsChoose Science Bloggers for Students campaign to help raise funds for public school classrooms in need of resources. CENtral Science is, naturally, focusing on the chemistry-related projects. And some of the requests are heartbreakingly basic, such as one from a teacher in Florida in need of thermometers, flasks, stopwatches, and beakers for her students. Another teacher of high-risk students wants to provide lab coats for his AP Chemistry class. Lots of other projects can be found at the CENtral Science giving page.
Any amount you can give, whether it be $5 or $100, will make a difference for and be appreciated by these students who are trying and eager to learn chemistry. Let’s give back to our communities and help teachers get what they need to teach chemistry.
What better way is there to celebrate National Chemistry Week and IYC 2011?
A quick update to thank all of you who participated in CENtral Science’s first blog carnival. So far, I’ve tallied at least 20 entries! David and I will work to get a roundup post together in the next couple of days. And stay tuned to see which ones will be published in an upcoming issue of C&EN (that will take a little longer to figure out).
A few weekends ago, I was with my young boys at our local mall checking out the kids entertainer, Ryan Buckle & Friends: Science you can sing to. Ryan, the singer, intersperses his songs with science demonstrations. We were there fairly early for a Saturday morning, so his audience was small and consisted mostly of toddlers and preschoolers – not the easiest crowd to entertain. Even though Ryan’s songs were fun to listen and dance to, it was the experiments that captured every one’s attention (yep, parents, too).
Smoke vortex rings puffed air as they floated past our heads. Water “disappeared” from a cup thanks to a gel powder. And then came my favorite reaction of all time: The Diet Coke-Mentos geyser. Simple, sure, but way fun to do with kids. As the mints hit the soda, disrupting polar attractions between water molecules, even my two-year old was mesmerized by the foam spewing forth from the bottle.
In this International Year of Chemistry, it seems only natural that we should pay tribute to our favorite chemical reactions, be they as simple as a soda geyser or as sophisticated as the Diels-Alder.
So, come one, come all, to the greatest chemistry blog carnival this fall!
A blog carnival?
Here are some of the IYC happenings from the last week:
- Today, May 20, is World Metrology Day. Go forth, and celebrate.
- Be sure the check out the Peeps chemistry diorama Linda Wang wrote about earlier this week.
- ACS President Nancy Jackson made her first of two appearances on the “The Best of Our Knowledge” radio program.
- More than 800 students participated in hands-on activities during the two-day Malaysian Chemistry Carnival.
- Impossible2possible launched its running expedition of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world, where four youth ambassadors will also participate in chemistry experiments that will be broadcast live to participating schools and posted on the i2P website.
- Part of Philosophically Disturbed’s Chemistry365 series, Magdeline Lum’s post about capillary action includes this mesmerizingly beautiful video:
Some of the IYC happenings from 4/30-5/13:
- As David Kroll points out over at Terra Sigillata, commencement season has commenced. Plus, school’s almost out for summer. Undergrads, graduate students, and postdocs who might have a little spare time on their hands might consider entering Nature Chemistry‘s “In Your Element” essay competition. Submission deadline: August 1.
- Elsevier is also hosting an essay competition. Essayists are invited to address the following question in no more than 1,000 words: “How can chemistry contribute to solving the challenge of developing sustainable resources (water, energy, food) in the 21st century?“ Submission deadline: June 30.
- ACS Publications launched its “Publishing Your Research 101” video series this week. The first video features George Whitesides on the topic, “How to Write a Paper to Communicate Your Research”:
- The latest podcast in ACS’s Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions project features a new ink-like explosive detector/neutralizer.
Here are some of the weekly happenings from this last week:
- A profile of Mouhoussine Nacro, a chemistry professor in Burkin Faso (C&EN)
- ACS Global Challenges-Chemistry Solutions podcast, “Developing New Materials: A greener process for a key ingredient used to make paint, diapers, and other products“
- IYC Virtual Journal, Issue 4, on energy
- Journal of Chemical Education’s virtual journal, “The Chemical Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (originally published in March, but revisited the social media circles this week)
Another extended edition of the round-up this week, but offerings of video goodness abound.
But first, in honor of Earth Day, a quick look ahead: the next Cape Cod Science Cafe is next Friday, 4/29. The topic is alternative energy and sustainability, featuring Dan Nocera as the keynote speaker.
In other news:
- The Philippines officially launched its IYC celebration with a kick-off event on Tuesday, April 12.
- The Hindu ran a brief story about a vacation theater camp organized by the Regional Science Centre and Planetarium in Kozhikode, India. The theme of the camp? “The chemistry of theatre and the theatre in chemistry.”
- UConn Today ran a Q&A on 4/18 with Mark Peczuh, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the ACS’s Connecticut Valley Section, entitled “Why Chemistry Matters to Everyone“. Bonus: here’s one of the video’s mentioned in the article,”Speak Simply”:
Finally, the video mother lode. Dow Chemical and The Franklin Institute released the first three videos in their “Celebrate Chemistry” series. Former ACS President Katie Hunt and TFI scientist Derrick Pitts demonstrate experiments kids can do at home. For your viewing pleasure:
I made an egregious omission from last week’s round-up. I refer, of course, to the IYC Chemistry Dance from #ACSAnaheim:
Also on the video front, winners of the “It’s Elemental” video contest, sponsored by Dow Chemical and hosted by the Chemical Heritage Foundation, were announced yesterday. Eleven schools received grants from Dow, and all video submissions can be viewed from the contest page on CHF’s website.
Some of the IYC happenings from last week:
- Mediaplanet published an eight-page section called “The Business of Chemistry” (PDF link) in The Washington Post on March 30.
- Watch Neil Da Costa’s press briefing on his ACS national meeting presentation, “Creating the Perfect Bloody Mary,” to toast IYC 2011 in proper fashion. Beer drinkers might enjoy the ACS Webinar from 3/31, “Advanced Chemistry of Beer and Brew.” If wine is more to your liking, there will be a Chemistry of Wine session in the Houston area tomorrow (4/5/11).
- In addition to news coverage of the national meeting, Linda Wang also put together a lovely IYC-related photo essay last week.
Sorry for missing last week, folks. To make up for it, this edition will include items from the last two weeks, 3/12-3/25:
- Science magazine’s March 18th issue included an editorial from Harry Gray and Jay Labinger on chemistry as the “central” science.
- The Chemical Institute of Canada’s YouTube video contest, “It’s Chemistry, Eh?,” launched in February and submissions are due by April 22. Yes, I slipped in an old item, but we weren’t up and running when the contest started…
- Congratulations to inorganic electrochemist Lesley Yellowlees, who was elected the first female president of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Newscripts focused on commemorative chemistry stamps, including an image gallery, in the March 14th issue of C&EN.
- World Water Day was March 22. ACS launched its Pennies for Pur Water campaign.
Stay tuned for IYC updates from the ACS national meeting in Anaheim next week.